Les Clefs de la Philosophie Spagyrique, by the elusive french physician LeBreton, would be a must to read book even if Fulcanelli and Canseliet didn’t mention it. My translation from the original french edition of 1722.
Early eighteenth-century spagyrics had very little in common with modern spagyrics as we are used to knowing it, namely the mere separation, refinement, and reunion of the parts. Although LeBreton’s language is still spagyrics, the finality of his treatise can be defined as alchemical in all respects (if not, the interest of Fulcanelli and Canseliet would not be understood). Of course, you can read funny things like “So bees are produced from bee ashes”… but I strongly believe this language was purely symbolic.
My translation was as far as possible verbatim, so you don’t miss anything.
- On General Calcination
- On Plant Calcination
- On Animal Calcination
- On Mineral Calcination. Mineral Elixir
General Index of Les Clefs de la Philosophie Spagyrique
On General Calcination
True chemistry, spagyrics or Alchemy, separates the pure substance of each mixed from all impure or extraneous.
The type or model of this sublime art is none other than nature itself, which for the conservation of the individuals it specifies, incessantly separates heterogeneous substances. All these efforts in every being have an end in this purpose.
Art is more powerful than nature, and by the same ways that nature shows it, it more perfectly isolates the virtues of bodies from everything that hinders them. It expands their scope and brings together the principles that enliven them. such are the purposes of chemistry.
The example of nature, which seems to exercise this art in the work of nutrition, can be seen from the coarseness contained in the foods it rejects and from the superfluity of all the digestions it discharges through the corridors intended for this purpose.
The operations of nature differ only in terms from the operations of Spagyria. These are: 1. Calcination – 2. Putrefaction – 3. Solution – 4. Distillation – 5. Sublimation – 6. Union – 7. Coagulation or Fixation.
To calcine is to reduce a mixed by fire to calcination or ashes, which cannot be further burned.
In the ashes are two pure substances, one terrestrial and the other fiery. The first is converted into glass with the violence of fire; the other dissipates in the air.
Before calcination, the mixed possessed an airy substance, having the consistency of oil or oily water, which can be fixed in the test of any fire.
The fiery substance, which is the principle of the multiplication, extension, and generation of the species, can only be separated by the greatest fire.
This fiery substance, fixed by nature, is the innate essence of the mixed, which philosophers call the natural star of every body, which always tends to generate by itself but cannot act unless excited by celestial heat.
This celestial fire is universal, it is everywhere and is the leading cause of the stone, so much praised by philosophers. Therefore they said that their stone is found everywhere and originated from nature without the help of art.
Each mixed’s fixed salt particles enjoy some spark of this fire. Its natural body contains it but cannot act without excitement.
A volatile celestial fire has the power to excite the fire hidden in the earth. It is extracted by distillation of an earth that philosophers know, and which they call the mother of their stone.
This same fire, after being pulled out of the earth, brings the earth to stone perfection. This is why it is called the father of stone.
Stone is the strongest of all substances composed of elements. she is the oldest if we are to attribute oldness to strength; it is the most perfect if we ascribe perfection to oldness. The mixed ones are weaker, younger, and less perfect.
Elemental bodies are equally weaker or stronger, as they contain more or less celestial fire. The degrees of its quantity relate to those of their power. This celestial fire is the heaven of every body and the spring of their sphere.
The mixed’s long life depends on the celestial spirit’s close union with the radical humidus. The death or corruption of the mixed is the untying of this knot through the power of a contrary or superior magnetism. Generation is the union of a new spirit which has become a tributary of the triumphant magnetism, and increases its energy.
The strength of this union is destroyed by internal heat, the impatient action of the spirit itself, or by external and extraneous humidity, which the energy of the mixed has not been able to resist so that it is suffocated by it.
Since this union is stronger in some bodies and weaker in others, they have a more or less long duration.
When the union with a spirit is broken, the radical humid immediately receives or, so to speak, conceives of another spirit that drives away the first. Thus the corruption of one thing is the generation of another.
Nature always tends to produce from a determined seed an individual similar to the one from which it came. But it often happens that it is diverted from it. It thus produces a different species, in proportion as it has lost of its primeval state, and has degenerated from its nature by the impression and potency of external agents. Thus the wheat degenerates into chaff, and thus imperfect animals and monsters are born.
When external agents agree with the internal nature, then likes always arise from likes. So bees are produced from bee ashes.
Only the fixed spirit is the cause of life and the author of generation. The volatile is of no use unless it is made fixed.
The volatile spirit completes and increases the fixed spirit only if it converts itself into the nature of the fixed. Thus the juice of food and the spirit of the air which the lungs draw preserve the life of the animals.
The union of the spirit with the radical humid is all the stronger the more the mixed is free of excremental impurities. The Philosophers say it is heaven and earth conjoined and reunited, and it is also brother and sister, bridegroom and bride embracing very closely.
The abundance and strength of its spirit can free the mixture from its impurities. From this, certain stones are more solid and last longer than others. And it is also why plants and animals have more or less strength and energy.
Plants are renewed in spring, because the sun opens their pores and infuses them with new spirits that penetrate and enliven them.
The secret that Chemistry proposes to prolong life is made using a pure, fixed salt with a very pure volatile, in which the fixed spirit and the volatile are hidden.
This arcana’s general practice consists of separating, purifying and fixing the spirits of the mixed. The secret of the philosophers can be extracted from every elemental body, and its virtues are marvelous.
Fixed plants salt, placed on the ground, soon reproduces the plants from which it was extracted because it attracts spirits of its own nature from the air, water, and earth, which it determines to its own magnetism.